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julesies
1035626.  Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:17 pm Reply with quote

WordLover wrote:
julesies wrote:
why some people pronounce some words differently in English.
Wow, who knew?

Syncope. "crayon". Really? Who pronounces it the same as "crane"?

Crap examples for "epenthesis". "Mischievous" is easy enough to say without the need for another vowel. A much better example is "film".


I think maybe these are mainly American English examples, then.

I've never heard crayon pronounced as "crane," but I have heard many people pronounce it as "cron" (it ends up sounding a bit like "crown").

I've also heard tons of people say "mis-chee-vee-ous." It's not hard to say when the emphasis is on "mis," but a lot of people in the US pronounce it with an emphasis on "chee" which does make it hard to say without the extra syllable.

I've never heard anyone pronounce film in an odd way, though. What do people say?

 
Spud McLaren
1035627.  Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:20 pm Reply with quote

julesies wrote:
I've also heard tons of people say "mis-chee-vee-ous." It's not hard to say when the emphasis is on "mis," but a lot of people in the US pronounce it with an emphasis on "chee" which does make it hard to say without the extra syllable.
Does it? That's the way I say it.

julesies wrote:
I've never heard anyone pronounce film in an odd way, though. What do people say?
Fillum.

My wife can't pronounce "owl" - she says "aa-wul".

 
Alfred E Neuman
1035628.  Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:20 pm Reply with quote

Afrikaans speaking South Africans often pronounce "film" as "fillum".

 
AlmondFacialBar
1035633.  Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:50 pm Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
Afrikaans speaking South Africans often pronounce "film" as "fillum".


And there was me thinking that was only an Irish thing...

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Starfish13
1036120.  Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:40 pm Reply with quote

chrisboote wrote:
What is the oldest world in the English language still in use today?


I read a piece of interpretation at a wildlife centre that suggested "goose" was a pretty ancient word.

julesies wrote:
Here's an interesting article about why some people pronounce some words differently in English. Some really interesting examples inlcude:
car-a-mel vs car-mel


That may be so, but the picture shows fudge.

For pretty much all of the examples given in the article, my usual pronunciation would have the greater number of syllables. The exception I find is the word interesting, because my tendency is to use a glottal stop for a t.

 
julesies
1036144.  Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:33 pm Reply with quote

Starfish13 wrote:
That may be so, but the picture shows fudge.


How can you tell?

 
Leith
1036157.  Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:23 pm Reply with quote

julesies wrote:
Here's an interesting article about why some people pronounce some words differently in English. Some really interesting examples inlcude:
car-a-mel vs car-mel

That is interesting (with three syllables). Having experimented with the examples, my RP/West Country accent appears to have the r and l syncope, but not the m and n one, and no epenthesis. My pronunciation of the dipthong examples is somewhat erratic, but most of them have two syllables for me, except 'drawer', and I'll pronounce a y in 'fire' and a w in 'hour'.

I'd noticed previously that my Glaswegian friend generally uses a lot more syllables than I do. I'd put that down to him having to enunciate more carefully for us southerners (just as my English friends who've lived abroad often learn to do), but perhaps it's a more general trait with Scottish accents.

 
Fien
1037003.  Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:54 am Reply with quote

chrisboote wrote:
What is the oldest world in the English language still in use today?


I wonder what the oldest word or language in the world is.

I once heard a story in one of my lessons about the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik I who did a linguistic experiment. He wanted to know what the oldest language in the world was. So he put two little babies in a cabin, and ordered that no-one could speak to them. The goal of the experiment was that the first word that the children would say was a word of the original language of the people. The only human contact they had was with a shepherd who brought a goat to feed the babies.The first word they said was 'Bekos', an old Phrygian word for bread. Thus they concluded was that the Phrygian language was the oldest language in the world. (This is written in Herodotus Histories)

 
CB27
1037021.  Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:50 am Reply with quote

The baby could have been a surrealist thinker, and when the other baby raised it's eyebrows, as if in question, it answered "because".

 
julesies
1037052.  Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:34 am Reply with quote

Fien wrote:
chrisboote wrote:
What is the oldest world in the English language still in use today?


I wonder what the oldest word or language in the world is.

Here is an article about linguists identifying very old words still in use: "Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’." This is the paper they refer to in the article. (I think someone else mentioned this previously in a different topic.)

There was also an interview on NPR with a scientist who used phonemic diversity to estimate the age of languages (like how biologists use genetic diversity to estimate the age of populations). I know some linguists don't like Atkinson's method, but at the very least it's an interesting and innovative approach. The talk with Dr. Atkinson in kind of in the middle of the full interview, but here's what Atkinson said he did:

"Well, one of the fundamental - or perhaps the fundamental unit of language is the phoneme, the smallest unit of sound that we use to differentiate meanings. So the word cat and the word bat are differentiated by the k and b sound. So that's a phoneme.

"And what I was interested in doing was looking at these phonemes all around the world to see if the geographic distribution could be used in a similar way to the way geneticists have looked at genetic diversity. So I was looking at the number of phonemes in different languages. And there's good reasons, a priori reasons, where we might expect phonemes to show a similar kind of founder effect to what we see in genetics. Smaller populations of speakers are known to have fewer phoneme. And both our theoretical models of language learning and computer simulation predict that smaller populations should lose phoneme.

"So, based on that theory and background, I decided to go into the data, to a dataset of over 500 languages around the world where we had information on the number of phonemes in the different languages, and put them on a map and then get a computer algorithm to go through a whole lot of potential origin locations around the world and ask: Where do we see, if anywhere, a gradient of decreasing diversity from some potential origin? And what's the - if you could choose any origin, what would be the best one to fit that pattern?

"And it turned out that Africa had the highest diversity and showed the best fit with this model, much better than anywhere else, which, of course, fits with the genetic picture."

 
Fien
1037149.  Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:20 am Reply with quote

@CB27: haha, nice one :D
@Julesies: thanks for the article! It's very interessting. I'm fascinated by the changes in languages and the similarities between them. In high school we have seen the similarities between the indo-european languages. I found it surprising how much Dutch (my motherlanguage) has in common with sanskrit. I didn't know that they belonged to the same language-family. Another thing that surprised me is that Dutch is an older language than German. Because German sounds older to me than Dutch, because they use grammatical cases.
I mean by this is that Dutch is closer to the Original German language of the Alemanni than German, who transformed by the High German Consonant shift in the sixth century (at least that's the way I learned it at school). This started in the South of contemporary Germany and moved up north, but stopped at the Benratherline. Above this line was no change in the consonants and that language evolved to contemporary Dutch, and south of the line the language evolved to contemporary German.

Another thing I find fasciniting is the presence of some 'unique' languages in Europe, who don't belong to the indo-european language, like hungarian, finnish and basque (I hope I did write these languages correctly). The documentary of Stephen Fry 'Fry's Planet Word' has an episode who looks at some of these languages, like basque.

 
djgordy
1037214.  Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:35 pm Reply with quote

Fien wrote:
like basque.


Depends who's wearing it.

 
julesies
1037223.  Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:05 pm Reply with quote

Fien wrote:
Another thing I find fasciniting is the presence of some 'unique' languages in Europe, who don't belong to the indo-european language, like hungarian, finnish and basque (I hope I did write these languages correctly). The documentary of Stephen Fry 'Fry's Planet Word' has an episode who looks at some of these languages, like basque.

I find language isolates fascinating too. I also think it's cool how Sumerian is a language isolate. It's interesting that the language family that includes a language from such an influential civilization could die out.

It's also fascinating that although language is so important to humans and is universal among humans, writing was invented only 3 (or 4, depending on whom you ask) times.





On a semi-related note, I found an absolutely gorgeous figure showing how words have been transferred between Indo-European languages (e.g., the words English gained from French and Norse). You can read more about it here, and the original paper is here.

 
suze
1037225.  Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:05 pm Reply with quote

julesies wrote:
It's also fascinating that although language is so important to humans and is universal among humans, writing was invented only 3 (or 4, depending on whom you ask) times.


The "easy three" being the Sumerians, the Chinese, and the Olmec in what is now Mexico, I suppose.

What do you have as the possible fourth? Egyptian hieroglyphs, or do you consider that the Egyptians got the idea from the Sumerians, even if they implemented it differently?

A case is sometimes made for the Indus script of what is now Pakistan. There is some dispute as to whether or not it really counts as writing, and also as to whether or not the Indus civilization could have borrowed the idea from the Sumerians.

And then there is the Rongorongo of Easter Island. Again there's a debate to be had about whether it's really writing, but no pathway has ever been presented by which the Polynesians who decamped to Easter Island could have known of the existence of - let alone been influenced by - any other literate culture.

 
julesies
1037230.  Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:40 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
The "easy three" being the Sumerians, the Chinese, and the Olmec in what is now Mexico, I suppose.

What do you have as the possible fourth? Egyptian hieroglyphs, or do you consider that the Egyptians got the idea from the Sumerians, even if they implemented it differently?

A case is sometimes made for the Indus script of what is now Pakistan. There is some dispute as to whether or not it really counts as writing, and also as to whether or not the Indus civilization could have borrowed the idea from the Sumerians.

And then there is the Rongorongo of Easter Island. Again there's a debate to be had about whether it's really writing, but no pathway has ever been presented by which the Polynesians who decamped to Easter Island could have known of the existence of - let alone been influenced by - any other literate culture.


Yes, those are the "easy three." And yes, I've seen some claims that Egyptian hieroglyphics is the 4th, but if they had contact with Sumerians then they could have gotten the idea from them, so writing wouldn't have been novel.

I didn't know about Rongorongo. It looks so cool. And it's written in a "reverse boustrophedon" way which is amazingly awesome. I've heard of boustrophedon (one line is written right to left, the next line is written left to right, the next right to left, etc.) but reverse boustrophedon is even more interesting as every other line is also upside down. (Here are examples using English: boustrophedon and reverse boustrophedon).

It's weird that of all of the original semanto-phonetic writing systems (because all of the original writing systems were logographic), Chinese seems to be the only one still in use. Are there any other modern writing systems that are semanto-phonetic other than Chinese (and the Chinese characters Japanese uses)?

EDIT: Apparently just Chinese. And Dongba, but it's only used for religious purposes.

 

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